The Swedish economy is expected to slow down markedly in 2012 in the wake of the European debt crisis. Given the risk of significantly weaker economic growth, the need remains for good safety margins in the public finances so as to continue to have the capacity to cushion the impact of a deeper crisis on jobs and welfare. Consequently, there will be limited scope for reforms in the budget for 2013. This scope should be used primarily for measures that prevent unemployment becoming persistent, strengthen the functioning of the economy, improve the financial position of vulnerable groups and strengthen welfare.
In the Spring Fiscal Policy Bill, the Government sets out the direction of its policies ahead of the concrete measures to be presented in the Budget Bill this autumn.
Innovation is about new ways of creating value for individuals, enterprises and society as a whole. The goal is for the Government to decide on an innovation strategy in early autumn 2012, expressed in a policy document aimed at 2020 to promote the climate for innovation long term.
18-19 April the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Internet Infrastructure Foundation (.SE) and Sida are organising the first ever Stockholm Internet Forum on Internet Freedom for Global Development - SIF12 - an international conference on the role of internet freedom in global development. Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt is hosting the conference.
On April 8, it is the Roma International Day. The day is celebrated in commemoration of the First International Roma Congress in London 1971, wich marked the beginning of a co-ordinated effort to promote Roma rights at an international level. Minister for Integration, Erik Ullenhag, who also has responsibility for national minorities, sends his greetings to Sweden's Roma population.
A new national research institute will be established in 2013 - Sweden Science for Life Laboratory. The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and AstraZeneca announced today that they will contribute considerable financial support to the project.
Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd temporarily takes over as Minister for Defence
At his own request, Sten Tolgfors was relieved of his duties as Minister for Defence on 29 March. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has decided to temporarily appoint Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd as head of the Ministry of Defence, in addition to her ordinary duties as Minister for Infrastructure.
This Bill presents proposals to clarify employers' responsibility for sick pay. A period of sick pay shall not begin unless the worker has completely returned to work and worked for at least one day since the employer last paid sick pay for one full period of sick pay. It is proposed that the legislation enter into force on 1 July 2012.
Save the Sea, Connect the Region, and Increase Prosperity. These are the primary objectives of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, as announced by the European Commission. The objectives are very close to the ones that Sweden has sought to have adopted.
In 2012, work on rural issues is being intensified at the Government Offices. Rural circumstances and needs affect most policy areas, which is why government decisions must be 'rural proof'. You can read more about the subject in The Government newsletter this week.
Comment from Anders Borg prior to today's Ecofin meeting
On 13 March, Minister for Finance Anders Borg meets the press before the Ecofin Council meeting.